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Leading the Charge for Electric Cars at Apartment Complexes

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday June 24th, 2011 | 4 Comments

Credit: Bill DiBenedetto

Here’s another amenity coming soon to an apartment complex near you: electric vehicle charging stations.

Car Charging Group and Equity Residential have teamed up to solve the problem of how to conveniently charge your new EV if you happen to rent an apartment.

Car Charging, in business since 2008, owns and operates EV charging services and intends to build a nationwide network of charging stations. Its model focuses on residential charging services, which is where Equity Residential, a leading owner, developer and operator of high-end apartment communities, enters the picture.

Representatives of the companies were on hand in Redmond, WA Wednesday to unveil and demonstrate one of the first EV charging station offered at an apartment community in the Seattle/Redmond area, Red160, a mere hop, skip and jump away from the Microsoft campus.

Also on hand for the “plug-in ceremony” were two all-electrics, the Wheego LiFe and the Nissan Leaf.

Andy Kinard, president of Miami-based Car Charging, says that 80 percent of EV charging will be done at home. A statement from the group adds,  “Recognizing that 33 percent of Americans rent and often don’t have access to a private garage, apartment developers like Equity Residential are installing car charging stations to increase the number of Washington state residents that can participate in the EV revolution.”

Car Charging installed the EV charging station in the parking garage adjacent to the Red160 main lobby. The garage is open to residents as well as the public. The group has also installed similar units for Equity Residential in Boston,  Seattle, and Washington, DC. It soon will install and maintain EV charging stations in four additional Equity Residential locations, including Coral Gables, FL, Deerfield Beach, FL, Los Angeles and San Diego.

There are relatively few charging stations in the US, with only California having more than 400—and most states have exactly none in operation. In addition, 40 percent of US residences do not have a carport or garage for charging a vehicle, particularly in urban areas.

The relationship with Equity Residential “is a good fit for us,” says Kinard. “In a year or two residential charging stations will be the backbone of our business.”

Helped by tax incentives, subsidies, loan guarantees and grants, the company provides the stations to building owners, parking garages, municipalities, stadiums and corporate fleet owners at no cost. It retains ownership of the units.

Credit: Bill DiBenedetto

At the Red160 complex, Kinard estimated it would cost about $3 per hour to charge the Leaf, and using the available 240-volt charging connection it would take about 15-20 minutes to fully charge it.

Under a strategic partnership with Coulomb Technologies and NovaCharge, Car Charging offers EV owners access to the ChargePoint Network, which is Coulomb’s system of wirelessly-connected charging stations that authenticate users, manage credit card payments, metering and energy flow and allow users to access GPS-linked data online so that drivers can see station locations and which ones are in use.

Widespread adoption of EVs will depend to a large degree on establishing a charging infrastructure that’s accessible where drivers live and work. Car Charging and Equity Residential are in on the ground floor, or rather the garage floor, of this with a win-win-win plan for the non-homeowner EV owner.


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  • Heather

    Yes, I can not wait! Can you imagine all those charging stations covered in snow and ice during a new england winter!

    Or those wires all frozen together in an ice storm!

    Yup. really, really smart!

    • Covinaman

      I think this article has a misleading quote in it. Saying $3 per hour, but taking only 15 to 20 mins? NO car on the marker charging with 240V fully charges in 20 mins. The leaf takes 6 to 8 hours to charge, that would be $18 to $24 to charge the leaf. That could reach to $125 per week. That more then people pay for gasoline. I don’t think buying electricity Retail to charge your EV is very smart at all. Just wait until you have your own charger in your own Garage.

      • Jay Kilby

        Yes, it may be that they are installing the quick-charging (440v)stations, which do charge the car in about 15 minutes. However, frequent use of the quick charge option is harder on battery life. Seems to me it would make more sense to be able to rent a designated space with a 240v station so that you could charge it overnight like most Leaf owners do at home.

  • Jay Kilby

    They are indoors or located beneath roofing structures of some kind.